One of my favorite stories as a kid was reading about Camelot and the enchanted world of King Arthur. Arthur assembled the Knights to the Roundtable, established chivalry as the culture of decent men and of course evoked an era of peace to a land too long at war. In modern times, Camelot later became associated with the Presidency of John F Kennedy. He like Arthur united his country with fresh ideas and around the need for change.
Kennedy, a real war hero, inspired us as a country to do anything we wanted to; even go to the moon. Americans because of him were asking not what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country. It was a time when people actually looked up to politicians!
For anyone under fifty it might be stretch to even remember what America was like in the early sixties. The average house cost around twelve thousand bucks. Middle class income was around six thousand a year and you could go to Harvard for fifteen hundred bucks in the new car you just bought for three grand! The Soviet Union was the biggest threat to America. China who? Air pollution controls and seat belts barley existed and gas was twenty eight cents a gallon. That was Kennedy’s and Americas Camelot. Unfortunately for America the fabled Camelot under the surface was anything but a fairy tale.
History has revealed to us that our family man President, had a thing with Marylyn Monroe that was less than shall we say supportive of family values, that he took the county as close to the brink of Nuclear War as we have ever been; ran a foreign policy that yielded the Bay of Pigs; empowered the CIA to do clandestine work whenever they wanted to and accelerated the Vietnam War that left South East Asia in mess for decades. Not to mention cost the lives of over 57,000 American soldiers and countless others from exposure because of our use of the chemical weapon called Agent Orange. You would think the use of the word Camelot would not have such a romantic ring to it given what we know now.
Yet here is the media throwing it around again. It all started this past week when the Kennedy’s from Ted to Caroline threw their support to O’bama. Caroline says he is the man for change, and inspires her kids the way adults tell her that her father inspired them. Wow, these are big shoes to fill. Elevating Mr. O’bama to a position that maybe, just maybe he should say; thanks but not thanks.
It is one thing to be called the man of change, quite another to get a country and a world on the same ticket. A world where America has fewer friends than it has enemies. A world that neither looks up to the United Sates nor gives it the respect one would think we should have. An economy that must be propped up at all costs to keep others it owes factory floors working. It definitely is not your fathers America anymore nor is it Camelot!
History has a funny way of haunting us when we don’t pay it the respect it is due. We may all long for the days of cheap gas and affordable college educations. But unless O’bama can pull the sword out of the stone, he should encourage those around him to leave the Camelot comparisons where they belong. Long gone! Because as Jacqueline Kennedy so rightly said, “There’ll be great Presidents again, but there’ll never be another Camelot…”